We have been practicing as obstetrician and gynaecologist for last 38 years and managing patients mostly from financially challenged strata. I have realised that basic health issues of community are really very basic. Nutrition, and more important lack of protein, is pivotal impediment of community health. Protein deficiency is not entirely an economic issue. Ignorance and lack of awareness plays major role in protein deprivation. Whole load of opportunist diseases build up on protein deficiency. If we could hit the problem here, we would not see unnecessary diseases. Most of poor patients approach doctors for their resultant and immediate issues. Most of we doctors, naively treat their complaints superficially like giving analgesics, not caring to give extra time to address basic problems in their environment. For example if woman is suffering of multitude of complains along with obvious anaemia, simple prescription of cheap iron tablets for few months might take care of her future sufferings. Sanitary care might avoid worm infestation. Cheaper protein alternatives spouted pulses, groundnuts and soya cubes will replenish her lost body mass. If we had been caring to give this advice of simple, available, cheap protein and iron, we could make tremendous impact on community health.
Another side effect of protein –iron famine in body has been pain, anywhere and everywhere. I suspect at least 20 % of population visiting doctors are for pain, especially non specific pain or pain at different parts of body. Again we are programmed to give analgesics and multivitamins or similar without considering cost-benefit impact. It may so happen that amount of money that ignorant client of ours going to spend on our prescription, may gain more by consuming cheaper sprouts, ground nuts and haematinic.
Working in deep jungle in tribal in area of Purulia district of West Bengal, I have come across alarming extreme situation of ignorance of patients, health workers, doctor and administrators. Every patient had pain somewhere or other. Almost everyone was addict to tobacco. When we tried to explain them relation of tobacco to pain, we saw that the addiction was so engrained n their core psyche, as essential item of consumption, that they preferred pain, disease and even death to leaving tobacco. Some were suffering for 10 to 20 years and dragging themselves as living bodies. Pain and pain was everywhere. Treating pain with analgesics was totally foolish approach. It would never take care of pain permanently. Easing suffering of community with such gigantic load of pain is not job individual can resolve. But there had to be some contribution to solution. We thought Acupuncture is best solution to pain of masses where we could relieve pain of at least 80% of patients with needles without any medicines. This would provide us platform for health education
With this view in mind our team started visiting different villages loaded with all facility of acupuncture therapy. Between 100 to even 200 patients poured in for treatment in one day. General trend was “few brave suffers ventured to be guinea pig and try our free offer” When they saw it really works they spread excitement in village that “needle therapy works and it’s free”. Then in next hour, we used to get flood of patients and we need security arrangement to regulate the flow of patients coming in for treatment. That’s time our teams used to get charged with adrenaline and corisol for work and feel the pleasure of relief. Working for 6 to 8 hours at one go became effortless because of feedback we used to get. Like tobacco, we became addict to seeing glowing faces of sufferers who got relief of pain. We started getting excited emotional outbursts after release from